If you are reading this book, there is a good chance you have heard of Google and its powerful office productivity suite, Google Apps. Google offers search, email, word processing, and hundreds of other cloud applications and services that can be available to the individual and can scale all the way up to massive corporations and governments. As one of Google’s most popular services, Google Apps offers some of the best online office products available and is an excellent example of web-based applications that out perform legacy desktop software.
This book is about Google Apps Script, which is a service that runs from Google Apps, like Sites and Documents. Google Script is extremely powerful when automating many of the tasks required by day-to-day spreadsheet operations, but it also scales up to provide a complete application platform. If you are coming from a Microsoft Office direction, you can think of it as the macros for Google Documents, but unlike simple macros in MS Office, Google Script has a mature online editor with all the features one would expect in a development platform. Unleash Google Script’s user interface capability and you can create entire data driven websites and applications that run across most modern browsers, including mobile.
With its own set of libraries, Google Script can interact with most
of the services provided by Google, making it the Swiss army knife behind
the mainline products. Other application building methods for accessing
Google products like App Engine and the gData APIs, offered in many
different languages, all require a place for you to develop and deploy
your code. With Google Script, you are building the code into the existing
Google platform, and that equates a robust experience where your products
are inherent in Google’s legendary 99.9 percent availability. Because
there is no need to have anything more than a basic Internet connected
browser, development on this platform is something anyone can get started
with, and there is no upfront expense. Google Script is not locked inside
Google where it can only talk to Google servers, rather it can communicate
through JDBC, JSON, SOAP, and has a
making it very versatile when communicating across the Web.
At Google I/O 2010, a new feature called UiApp was unveiled, giving Google Script programmers the ability to build custom user interfaces that can run inside a spreadsheet window as a Google Gadget or completely independent in a browser. Talk about earth shattering, a cloud programing platform that can access just about any web-based service and has the ability to create AJAX style web pages? That is noteworthy. One year later, in 2011, additional improvements were added, giving Google Script a drag-and-drop visual editor. This feature reduces the amount of code writing and makes creating an application more approachable for power users with limited coding experience. To date, Google Script is the only way to gain full access to Gmail at the message level.
This book will focus on teaching you how to build powerful web applications using Google Script. It is laid out in sections that explain how the different parts of Google Script work and puts all these together in a series of fully functional applications that you can put to work right away.
You will need a web browser (I recommend Chrome) and any type of Google account. That’s it! Google Script is a completely web-based solution that is free and ready for you to start programming today.
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
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This book is here to help you get your job done. In general, you may use the code in this book in your programs and documentation. You do not need to contact us for permission unless you’re reproducing a significant portion of the code. For example, writing a program that uses several chunks of code from this book does not require permission. Selling or distributing a CD-ROM of examples from O’Reilly books does require permission. Answering a question by citing this book and quoting example code does not require permission. Incorporating a significant amount of example code from this book into your product’s documentation does require permission.
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